Mint master

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A mint master (lat. Magister monetae , or monetarius , for mint ) was the manager or administrator of a mint responsible for minting the coins . His powers varied depending on the time and place. The assistant of the mint master was as Münzgeselle or Münzohm referred.


The mint masters in ancient Greece were often Leiturgen , i.e. citizens who performed public tasks with their wealth.

Little is known about the duties of the Greek mint master in the early Byzantine period . Identical signatures and minting processes were found for different coins from different cities . Hence, it can be concluded that a mint master minted the coins for many different cities.

Since the first Punic War , the office of mint master is said to have been assigned as an annual office in the young Roman Empire , but this approach is certainly too early. In the second Punic War in 216 BC. A three-man college was responsible for raising funds. The later mint masters emerged from these tresviri mensarii . According to Theodor Mommsen , this tresviri was introduced together with the denarius system at the end of the 3rd century BC. Chr.

Since the later republic, supervision of coinage has been the responsibility of a college of three minters , the Tresviri aere argento auro flando feriundo (III.VIR.AAAFF), IIIviri monetales for short , also known as Treviri or Triumviri (singular: Tresvir monetalis ). The mint master was appointed by the quaestor .

Only since the 1st century BC The office of the mint master as annual office can be proven. Caesar increased the number to four, Augustus reduced it to three. The Treviri monetales can be traced back to the 3rd century AD.

In the Imperial Imperial practiced procurators up to 20 at the mints the Münzaufsicht out. The Senate's right to have a say is doubtful.

middle Ages

The need for money in the Merovingian period was comparatively very small. The mint masters produced the coins in small workshops either alone or with the help of a few employees and administered the coin metal. During the Carolingian era , coinage was the responsibility of royal officials.

In the High Middle Ages , the so-called Münzerhausgenossenschaft took its place . This consisted of the rich bourgeoisie of the cities, mostly merchants, precious metal dealers, money changers , goldsmiths and the like. a. and appointed the mint master from among their ranks. In return for their work, the housemates received part of the coin profits, along with some privileges and rights, including the monopoly of buying gold and silver, duty-free , tax exemption and jurisdiction in matters relating to coinage. The house cooperative experienced its heyday in the 13th and 14th centuries.

With the takeover of the coins by the sovereigns or the cities , the house cooperatives went under in the late Middle Ages . From then on, the mint masters were independent entrepreneurs who stipulated the weight, fineness , impact treasure and personal contribution in free contracts with the minters . The mints, along with the mines and state shipyards, had become the largest companies of their time.

The northern Italian city-states, however, did not lease their mints, but instead employed elected mint masters as civil servants.

The assistant of the mint master was sworn German nation as the Master of the Mint in the Holy Roman Empire, had special rights and was as Münzohm , Münzgeselle or Reichsohm referred.

Modern times

With the transition to the modern era , local entrepreneurs and their mints became increasingly important. Mint master dynasties emerged, leases were extended over generations. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the number of Jewish mint tenants increased, not least because religious affiliation at times severely restricted access to other professions .

Mint master's marks are often found on coins , mostly somewhat hidden in the form of rosettes, hooks , monograms and name abbreviations. Since coins often also have the engraver's signature , there is a risk of confusion.

A major problem with leasing the coin shelf was the deterioration of coins , which financed wars, especially in the age of absolutism . Before and during the Thirty Years War , coin deterioration was e.g. B. brought about by the tippers and luffers , at a later time z. B. by Veitel Heine Ephraim , the famous Berlin court factor who made the Seven Years War possible (see Leipzig Mint: Under Prussian Occupation) .

In England the mint masters survived as entrepreneurs into the second half of the 19th century, in France and the Netherlands even longer.

In Austria and Germany, on the other hand, at the time of the Habsburgs , the establishment of a state coinage system began early on. In Austria the office became the highestHereditary mint master created, which provided the mint master as civil servants with a fixed salary without profit sharing. In Bohemia, too, the supreme mint master's office was held by counts and lords, who at the same time supervised all mining establishments and mines in the kingdom.

In addition to the mint master, there were other mint officials, such as B. the blacksmith, the die cutter and the coin maker. The coin wardein (lat. Wardinus) had to ensure that the correct alloy was minted according to the regulations . He also had to prepare samples, which were presented to the probation day according to the Reich coin and tasting regulations. The probation day was made up of the Reich and district estates themselves or their representatives.

See also


  • Helmut Kahnt, Bernd Knorr: Old measures, coins and weights. A lexicon. Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig 1986, licensed edition Mannheim / Vienna / Zurich 1987, ISBN 3-411-02148-9 , p. 390 f.

Web links

Commons : Münzmeister  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Notes and individual references

  1. ^ Ernst Günther Förstemann: Documented history of the city of Nordhausen up to the year 1250 , 1840, p. 26.
  2. Anyone who possessed at least three talents could be drawn into a Leiturgy, see Der Kleine Pauly 3, Sp. 550.
  3. a b c Der Kleine Pauly 5, Sp. 938.
  4. Der Kleine Pauly 3, Col. 1452.
  5. Helmut Kahnt, Bernd Knorr: Old dimensions, coins and weights. A lexicon. Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig 1986, licensed edition Mannheim / Vienna / Zurich 1987, ISBN 3-411-02148-9 , p. 390.